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Blackboard and Microsoft Team To Put Course Info on Bing

Blackboard and Microsoft have joined forces to offer students access to information from their online courses on Web browsers. Under the agreement the two companies will work together to program a Blackboard Learn toolbar for the Bing search engine, as well as the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. The goal is to streamline access to course information and to help students keep up with course updates while surfing the Web, not just when logged into their Blackboard accounts. Users will receive updates on their courses, groups, and organizations directly in the browser, regardless of which Web site they're visiting and without having to log into Blackboard every time.

"We are always looking for ways to get information out to students in the places they already spend their time," said Nick McClure, lead systems programmer at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. "Customizing the toolbar to include personalized Blackboard content will make this more than just another tool. Students will get security and protection, while staying up to date on their courses."

Blackboard previously created similar applications to enable students and learners to receive course notifications and alerts through Facebook and on Apple iPhone or iPod touch devices.

"This partnership extends our effort to bring important educational information to students wherever they are and whenever they need it, in the most convenient method possible," said Matthew Small, Blackboard's chief business officer. "This offering will help our clients continue to drive adoption of their e-learning initiatives on campus as well as reduce their support costs."

"We are excited to be working with Blackboard to enable students to enjoy deeper connections to the information that matters most to them," said Jon Tinter, general manager of the Microsoft Online Service Division. "Bing is about helping folks make smarter, faster decisions, and our work with Blackboard will empower students with deeper connections to their course information and powerful search technologies to help them make better decisions in their busy day to day lives."

As part of the alliance, Blackboard will be using Bing on its SafeAssign plagiarism prevention service, which is free to its customers. For its part, Microsoft has joined the Blackboard Alliance Program as a Blackboard Premier Partner.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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